How to Care for A Molting Parrot. Molting takes a lot out of a parrot. Literally.

How to Care for A Molting Parrot

How to Care for A Molting Parrot

Molting takes a lot out of a bird. Literally. During their molt you’ll witness your bird fussing about themselves, and feathers falling. Unnerving if you’ve never watched a parrot replace their feathers. It’s a natural occurrence, though. Out with the old, in with the new. Once a feather falls, there is a brand-new pin of a feather behind it. Filled with cells and blood to create a brand-new feather. This process can leave your bird hungry, itchy, tired, and anxious. A natural reaction to all this feather manufacturing.

How to care for a molting parrot. How long should molting last? Every bird is different because every bird lives differently Length and intensity of molts are directly affected by what they eat and drink, stress, and your HVAC use.

Care for your molting parrot.

  • What should you feed a molting parrot? Extra calories and nutrition are a good idea. You may notice their appetite strengthen. You may see them eating certain items first that they don’t normally prefer. Their body is looking for the building blocks of calcium, protein, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and familiar alphabet vitamins A - E. Add a food bowl for an extra portion of favorite foods that deliver.
  • Water for drinking and water for bowl bathing. If your parrot doesn’t mind a mist, add a bit of raw aloe to their water. Shake well before misting. A sauna once a day helps, too. Bringing your bird into the shower to perch above or near the warm misted humidity delivers relieve for itching. Monitor their water intake. Add frozen blue berries to their water bowl for a water play invitation and added vitamins when they finally get into the eating part.
How to care for a molting parrot. Water for drinking and water for bowl bathing.

  • Cover a portion of their cage so that they have a corner that is private. A heavy molting parrot prefers a place to preen quietly. Natural instincts warn them they are vulnerable at this point. Give them what they don’t realize they want.
  • Running a humidifier for their comfort in the winter months helps a parrot’s skin. Living in a human’s idea of HVAC is challenging to a parrot’s biology.
  • If you’ve got dander producing birds (cockatoos, tiels, and greys) you’ll experience an impressive increase in that problem. Keeping your filters running 24/7, replacing filters, and even an upgrade to your clean air systems is a good idea. For your health, and theirs.
  • You’ll need to dust and clean more to stay ahead of this molting item. When new feather casings (the name of the opaque pin hiding a fresh feather inside) are being shed by preening, you’ll find all kinds of opaque white matter on you, them, and flat surfaces. For your health, and theirs.

Parrot Molting Facts

  1. How long should molting last? Every bird is unique because every bird lives differently. Food, drink, stress, and your HVAC use all impact their molts.
  2. When is molting season for birds? There is no season for companion parrots in a house with HVAC. Molts happen differently for every bird. Felix, our African grey, molts once a year, hard. He’ll take six weeks to molt out small chest and belly feathers, wings, and tail feathers past their prime. Butters, our blue and gold, molts twice a year, small feathers for a month and then tail and wing feathers later. Every bird is unique. Expect your parrots to molt according to their own clocks.
  3. Can molting birds fly? Absolutely. Wing molting happens symmetrically. Flight is not affected.
  4. What’s the difference between molting and plucking? The short answer is molting is a natural-looking process with no damage to the wing or quill. Consider a shedding if you will. A plucking parrot drops feathers that are chewed, barbered, and bleeding if they’ve taken a blood feather. Some plucked feathers a pin filled with blood. One point of clarity, our Snickers, Scarlet Macaw, will pull a ready to molt feather to chew on the quill end. This is normal. This is natural. Don’t worry. A Parrot playing with molted feathers is a natural behavior.
How to care for a molting parrot.  Molting takes a lot out of a bird. Snickers, Scarlet Macaw, will pull a ready to molt feather to chew on the quill end. This is normal. This is natural. Don't worry, nor fuss. There's a good reason for that.

    Pro Molting Tip: This is an excellent time to pick up feathers and inspect them for signs of problems. Feathers tell a healthy story about your parrot. 

    Molting is normal. Heavy molting is normal. Molting once, twice, three times a year is normal. Molting a few feathers all year round is normal. A healthy parrot living a well fed, loved, low stress lifestyle molts regularly. Sometimes feathers that come in aren’t exactly like the ones that left. Felix’s floofy butt feathers change. They can be grey, white, red, or a mixture. Never judge your parrot’s molting by another parrot’s molting. Every parrot is different because their lifestyle is different.

    Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


    • @Susie, I’m glad to hear Pandora is on the wing again, albeit, wonky yet.

      Your weather has been unruly! I’ll agree, that pushed her hormones right over the edge to create a better set of feathers to deal with heat. No doubt about that. If she’s herself, and outside of that POOF! Molt and recovery, she is your Pandora I couldn’t think of anything to add or worry on.

      Feed her extra good, keep her hydrated well, bath/shower/mist as she loves. I’d love to hear how she’s doing moving forward. That must have been a very off putting experience for her. But like all us girls, she’s going to adapt and get on with it.

      Kathy LaFollett on

    • My grey, Pandora, had her first ever heavy moult this summer (it was an incredibly hot one here in the uk so I wonder if that’s why?) and she lost literally piles of feathers over a week or two – mostly very small ones but quite a few wing and tail feathers – after which she couldn’t fly!!! She never had bare patches just looked very raggedy. Two and a half months later and she’s grown back lots of feathers and she’s just starting to fly again (badly). Lots of crash landings. She’s always been out of her cage during the day, wings not clipped, very happy, chats away, no sign of stress, so I’m sure it’s just a moult. I would love any feedback and advice. Susie

      Susie on

    • @Joyce Debenedetto This applies to all parrots. Your Tiel not molting this Fall isn’t bad or good. It’s your bird’s molting pattern changing. Age plays into this as well.

      Kathy on

    • Does this apply to all birds? My Tiel had no fall molt. Is that good or bad?


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